So it’s the end of 2018, my fourth (official) year since I decided to start screenwriting. 2018 has been a year of firsts for me, so I thought I’d put this together to note the important ones.
My first stage play- For a couple of years, my friend Wayne Liversidge had urged me to write a stage play based on a story he’d wanted to tell for some time. Well this year that finally happened. The Engagement first saw the light of day in a reading at the Sussex Playwright’s January meeting. I say reading- they essentially put on a full production. It was the first time I’d seen a full length piece of mine performed by actors in front of an audience and it was an experience I will never forget. The response to this reading landed us a director and gave us the energy to put the play on at the Rialto Theatre for Hove Grown.
I think I can call The Engagement my first true success as a writer. We ended up packing the theatre, getting a good audience for the Brighton Fringe, let alone a smaller more local event. While I still intend to focus mostly on screenwriting going forward, the contacts I have made doing this play have already made that path a little clearer.
First audio drama- If you haven’t been listening to The Other 1% on iTunes or Spotify, you really should check it out. Within the next 2 months, the episode I wrote, entitled A Night in Balcombe Tunnel, will be online. It’s really exciting to be involved with a project with such a global reach.
First time hosting a screening- My latest short film A Medium Chance was screened at the Caroline of Brunswick this August along with several other shorts made with the same cast or crew. Between each film were general discussions, some terrible jokes and the odd drink, which probably made it all work!
First pitching competition- After submitting a video pitch to Enter The Pitch, I unexpectedly found myself making the longlist. In the words of Palpatine, “a surprise to be sure, but a welcome one!” While I didn’t make it to the shortlist, knowing how many people voted and expressed their support was incredibly moving, and definitely a confidence booster.
First time getting blind robbed in broad daylight and stranded in a foreign country after also being detained for possession of a possible offensive weapon-… yeah this year wasn’t all marvellous. Moving on.
First time co-writing- I’ve written the ending of a feature draft with Justin Hayward, who has written the beginning and previous drafts. This is proving a most enjoyable process because the story is already there: the hard work is done! Just focusing on the craft of writing a script while coming in with the story almost formed is a nice change of pace. Also, I’m definitely going to start writing the end and working back from now on!
So that’s my 2018 in firsts. The first immediate thing that awaits me in 2019 is the LSF Talent Campus, which I shall be attending in mid-January. Until then, don’t overdo it tonight, and Happy New Year to all of you!
James Alexander Allen